Top 10 Must Visit Places in Bali


Many people say that Bali is overrated, too touristy and not worth to visit. I guess it really all depends how you would enjoy Bali. Not only that it has been popular in it’s own right, with post eat, pray, love, is there still the Bali that started it all?

Regardless, as time has passed, and places may have grown, yes Bali is still what it is somewhat but not quite. If you can look past the many tourists especially during peak season and instead of scorning, enjoy instead the many little business dotted around specifically to cater to tourists, you might just fall in love with Bali.

Bali deserves still the attention it is getting, just to list the Top 10 must visit places is enough to see why you should still travel to Bali.

Uluwatu Temple, Pura Luhur @ Bali

Uluwatu Temple, Pura Luhur @ Bali

Uluwatu Temple – Pura Luhur

Imagine a large rugged limestone cliff with a temple perched on it, almost like a scene from cliffhanger, to add to it’s dramatic grandeur. It is situated in the island commonly known as Bukit Peninsula, where it also include Bali’s few best beaches like Balangan and also has many good surfing spots. The temple is itself a majestic structure, constructed and expanded by many famous safes since in the 11th Century, it perched at the steep cliff of 70 meters above the Indian ocean. If you go even higher grounds nearby, you will be rewarded with breathtaking view of either side and sunsets over Uluwatu temple itself.

Pura Tanah Lot @ Bali

Pura Tanah Lot @ Bali

Pura Tanah Lot

Another majestic rock formation that lays as a foundation of a popular pilgrimage temple. It is most popular for its serenity and cultural significance as it is associated with the Balinese mythology as one of the seven temples that form a ring in the southwest of Bali. Try to go there during low tide so that you can experience walking across the water to the temple for the full experience.

Temple by the lake @ Bali

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan (Bali’s temple by the lake)

This is the famous temple by the lake in Bali, where instead of like the rest perching on the cliff rock, this one is serenely resting at the edge of Lake Bratan. Imagine beautifully structured temple with double the beauty due to reflections of the clear lake.

Paddy rice fields @ Ubud, Bali

Paddy rice fields @ Ubud, Bali

Dolphin sightings at Lovina

One of the best place in the world to do dolphin sighting boat trip. You will leave the beach at dawn to seek for the dolphins, though yes it may be quite crowded with other tourists trying to do the same especially during peak season, it is still well worth it when you find a school of dolphins happily jumping by. Lovina itself have a number of other attractions and activities itself, and boasts itself some backpacker scene where you can chill out in cafes and with live musics.

Lady selling flowers at the Market @ Ubud, Bali

Lady selling flowers at the Market @ Ubud, Bali

Ubud

Yes despite that one might be trying to escape the eat, pray, love trail, Ubud is one place you cannot miss. It is still the heart of Bali, where all the action is and all the people and energy are focused on. Ubud is packed and condensed with the best of Bali, ranging from nature, culture and people, temples, museums, rolling rice/paddy fields and man-made gardens and parks. You may take a interesting bike tour around here or take up cooking, adventure activities like whitewater rafting and other outdoor activities, relax yourself with yoga and meditation or have some pampering of spas and massages and also enjoy arts and theatres and not to forget shopping. Just so you see Ubud have a little bit of everything for almost everyone.

Party @ Kuta Beach, Bali

Party @ Kuta Beach, Bali

Party at Kuta Beach

The most popular beach in Bali, which means you can be sure to find the life and party scene here in Kuta Beach. Head here if you are looking out to socialize, party and have a good time. You be sure to find a range of places for different atmosphere and budget, ranging from Hard Rock cafe to your neighborhood cafe and pub.

Private Beach @ Nusa Dua, Bali

Private Beach @ Nusa Dua, Bali

Private beach at Nusa Dua Beach

If you have a bit more of a budget to spare, splurge at Nusa Dua beach, where it is dotted with higher end hotels. You will be rewarded with private pristine beaches for you to slowly soak in the sun and the sea. Also ideal for honeymooners or people looking out for a private and relaxing getaway.

Hike Mount Batur @ Kintamani, Bali

Hike Mount Batur @ Kintamani, Bali

Hike/Climb Mount Batur at Kintamani

Up in a highland in East of Bali, there lies Mount Batur caldera in Kintamani. A climb to the summit (1700 meters) of this active volcano is a great experience for any active travelers. Many would do the sunrise hike for an ultimate experience, starting from as early as 4am to reach in time for 6am sunrise. This hike is relatively easy and the treks are quite well marked. From the peak of the mountain, there are views in all direction to sweep you off your feet, not literally of course.

Bar on rocks @ Ayana, Bali

Bar on rocks @ Ayana, Bali

Ayana bar on rocks

We have two temples on the cliff, now we get to drink off the bar perched on yet another cliff at Ayana in Bali. This is known as the best bar in Bali, having a long line of people daily trying to get in and have a drink or two with some bites (which is surprisingly good) while overlooking the sea crashing into the rocks below. Think about drinking, chilling and also dancing atop a cliff with the roaring sea stretching behind you to infinity while you watch white water crashed onto the side of the wall creating a spectacular of natural show. If you decide where is one bar you must go to, Ayana bar on the rocks is the place.

Coffee plantation at Bali Pulina Agro Tourism

Coffee roasting @ Agro Plantation, Bali

Coffee roasting @ Agro Plantation, Bali

An almost zen place for you to sit back and really appreciate your cup of coffee while overlooking the coffee plantation as far as the eye can see. Here you are served with various coffee and tea for tasting. You can also see the process of how the famous and expensive Kopi Luwak are made and even the civet cats themselves. If you are a coffee lover, do come check this place out for the ultimate coffee experience.

So you have it, ten reasons to visit Bali and these are just the highlights. Now you know the reason behind Bali’s popularity, so maybe people can just be right sometimes. Come over with an open heart and open arms, huge ounce of patience and tolerance for crowd, close an eye to all the touristy things glaring at you and just enjoy yourself here. If all else fail, you can always jump on the next available fast boat and escape to Gili Islands or Lombok!

Photo credits from top: melburnian, kevinpoh, Rud Glazn, Zenubud, David Stanley, riza, sektordua, Jeda Villa Bali, ValeriosVeo and Jos Dielis

Related articles:
Top 10 Things to Do in Bali
Top 10 Best Beaches in Bali
Top 10 Best Restaurants in Bali
Bali Festivals
Ubud, Bali : Arts, Rice Terraces, Spa, Yoga

Bali Tours (affiliate links)
Bali Discovery Tour
Family Fun in Bali: Four Wheel Drives, Farming and More
Make your own Bali Tour



About Rachel

Fascinated by Indonesia, Rachel hopes to bring the best Indonesia Travel Guide to independent travelers, so that they can enjoy what Indonesia has best to offer. Being an independent wanderer herself, Rachel knows what it takes to make a good, fun-filled yet responsible independent traveling. So let’s join her to discover wonderful Indonesia together. Google+

62 thoughts on “Top 10 Must Visit Places in Bali

  1. Hi Rachel

    There is probably at lot more than 10 “must visit places” in Bali, but the 10 you mention here are definitely on the list.

    For the trekking and volcano enthusiasts Mt. Agung is another good option. The trek is a little harder, but the views are amazing.

  2. Hi Rachel,
    My friends and I are going to Bali by August. We will be coming from Surabaya by almost midnight, for its the only way left available to go to Bali. Based on our researched over the net we need a bus or ferry ride to be in Bali from Surabaya?.. Do you have the idea about the bus or ferry ride schedule? We do not have any hotel/ accommodation booking done yet.. Can you suggest which is much likely to be the best one.. where it is just within the area of your must visit places in Bali list?

    TIA

    • From Surabaya you can take a bus/train to Banyuwangi and then you will switch to a bus to get to jetty and take a ferry across to Bali, yes you would need to take a ferry / boat in this case. Else another option is you can fly from Surabaya to Denpasar, which will save you a lot of time as the travel on land is long (8-9 hours). For place to stay you can look around Ubud area and you can check here at Agoda (affiliate link) for cheap options.

  3. Hi Rachel,

    I am planning a trip to Bali in November and looking to stay in Ubud. Is it a good idea to stay in Ubud? If so, which area within Ubud would be best to stay?
    I have been to Maldives recently and hence not interested in beaches. What would be the ideal places to visit to experience Balinese culture , besides trekking and cycling?

    Reagards
    Bhargavi

    • Ubud will be a good place to stay being the epicentre of arts and culture of Bali. You can always rent a bicycle and cycle around Bali. For trekking you can look at many options from volcano to rice fields.

  4. Hi,
    We planning go Kuta, Bali on this early Oct with our 23 months baby. We will staying for 4 days 3 nights, any places to recommend to go with our baby?
    Thank you.

  5. Thanks for all the suggestions, now really confused as to which to visit.
    I am visiting my daughters in Sydney and have 3 days in Bali, I will be on my own so any tips or must see.
    Keith

    • Hi Keith, just see if any of the above attracts you as I believe everyone has different interests. Bali can be a good place to chill or a good place to get really busy, your choice! But for 3 days you may actually fit almost all the top 10 must see places in Bali. A tip is that if you have the budget you can rent a car with a driver to save time moving from places to places.

  6. Hi Rachel,

    Any suggestion or recommend for this 2 place Bedugul Temple and Turtle Island & Glass Bottom Boat because i can only choose one of the place to visit. Kindly please advice?

    • Bedugul Temple is also known as Pura Ulun Danu Bratan and as recommended in this article a place you should visit in Bali. Many travelers advice against going to the Turtle Island (with a Glass Bottom boat) for it is touristic place out to earn your money, the condition for the animals is poor and it is a short experience but expensive.

  7. Hi Rachael,

    With these top 10 attaractions that you have just listed, do you think it’s possible to complete all in 3 days? I am travelling with my girlfriends

    • hi Charis, yes it is possible to do in 3 days but it will be very rush, better to rent a car and a driver to take you around as the places may be far from each other. Also you may need to forgo one or two activities if needed. have fun!

  8. Hello Rachael,

    We will be visiting Bali next December and we are going to be a group of 4 male singles. We will be spending 7 days/6 nights in Bali. We are now discussing how we are going to plan the stay. Ideally we will stay in 2 locations 3 nights each. Given that we all agreed to spend 3 nights in Kuta, we are now looking for a place to spend the remaining 3 nights. We are looking for a place not as ‘crazy’ as Kuta but still lively and good for our group. Seminyak? What are your suggestions?

    Many thanks.

  9. Thanks Rachel. We’re planning to have our honeymoon in Bali next year. Some says you can’t swim in the beach during surf season… do you know when this is? Can you also recommend a trusted car hire with driver to take us around Bali?

    Thanks in advance.

  10. hi Rachel

    i would like to ask u for little help…
    we are going to bali oct 1st and we will stay for 1 month and 7 days, in that time we would like to visit and search entire island. so my question would be can u please tell what would be 5 or 6 the best places to stay from where we can search around… like 5-6 area in which we can embrace and see the whole island cause we dont want to miss any single thing!
    thank you!

  11. Hi Rachel,
    Me and my husband Avishek Sarkar is visiting Bali on 13th October, 2013.

    We will be staying at Nusa Dua

    Since our visit is for a very short period, we would like to have a one day Bali trip and would like to cover the following areas.

    Uluwatu Temple – Pura Luhur
    Pura Tanaha Lot
    Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
    Ubud
    Kuta
    Mount Batur – Kintamani
    Jatiluwih-Tamblingan
    Terraced Fields.

    Can you please let me know if there are any one day tour operators who can cover these areas and what will be the approximate cost?
    Is there any other tourist spot that we can visit other than the above mentioned places?

    Best regards,
    Rimli

    • Hi Rimli, one day would be quite a feat to visit so many places in Bali, some are apart from each other, I would recommend to rent a car at least if you did not go for tour operators. But if you want, you can always look for one there as there are many to choose from, sorry I do not have a contact to any of them. Besides the listed above, you may also consider sunset dinner at Jimbaran and/or a drink at the Ayana Rock Bar. Have fun!

  12. hi rachel, was doing a random search on Bali and saw your top 10 list. i haven’t been to bali and know not much about the place. so where do you recommend for a first time traveller (with the intention to cover the top 10 list above), how many days should i allocate? what kind of itinerary should i be looking at? where do i begin? where should i stay? do you have an itinerary posts for first time traveller to bali?
    also, i’m looking at going Bali early Dec, is this a good season? hear from u soon :)

    • hi, welcome to the Indonesia Travel Guide! If you intend to cover Bali and the top 10 above, you may well stay at any of the areas in Bali mentioned here and then hire a car to get around all these places, they are not near to each other. If you have the time, the longer you stay the more you would appreciate Bali, like all travels, but if you have to choose then I believe a 4-5 days would be good. Take a look at our 5 days itinerary for Bali. December would be a rainy season for Bali unfortunately, but fret not as the rain falls normally in the evening or night time. Try to set your travels from early morning to maximize your day. Have a good trip and share some stories ;)

  13. Hi Rachel,

    We are travelling on 31st August and staying 4 days in Bali. We are staying in Canggu area in Bali dream Villa. Any places of interest you can suggest around this place. How about echo beach?

  14. Heyy Rachel..We are planning our honeymoon in Bali in December for 4D 4N..Please suggest us the best villa and the best resort under $150 for 2 days each.and also, what are the best beaches to stay

  15. Another place to recommend.AMED .A. Stunning area mountains, rugged coast and the ocean. Great diving ( yesdive)
    Snorkleing,sailing, fishing,trekking,cycling,local culture and crafts, traditional salt making, great eating and meeting place wih some night life wawawewe beach, they also have a gorgeous place to stay wawawewe II villas. Further afield for trips out, weaving, water palaces, kings palace amlapura, traditional markets. I could go on, it’s not to be missed, and if your desperate to go to the Gile islands you can get boats directly from Amed. But stay a while in Amed and explore.

  16. I am arriving in Bali on 24th September 2013 i.e. tomorrow. I hope I will be able to visit all these places during my 5 days trip to this island.

  17. Hi rachel, u mentioned that renting a car with a driver may be a good idea. How much should we expect to pay that is considered a reasonable price?

  18. Hi Rachel, were booked to go to bali on Feb 2014, what’s the weather on that month? how much will it cost us if we rent a car to go to all the top 10 lists tourist spots that you mentioned here? is the food in bali expensive?

    • renting a car there would cost about 300,000 RP – 600,000 RP per day depending how far you cover. February weather should be fine to visit Bali.

  19. How far are these places from each other? What is the best way to be able to see them all? I have 7 days in Bali. I have heard it can be dangerous to try to drive yourself.

    • these places can be far from each other and you would need some kind of transport or another. Renting a car along with a driver is most recommended

  20. Hi Rachel, I’m planing for a 2N2D weekend trip to Bali from Singapore with my spouse (5 months preg). Please advise suitable places to visit. would like to have a blend of leisure and explore. I’ve booked tickets – reaching @ 8 pm on 8 Oct – departing 6 pm on 10 Oct. Suggest a good resort around Kuta.

  21. Hi Rachel, for the temples as you had recommended, may I know will I be able to visit them in a day’s time as I will be staying at Seminyak W hotel and I will only be staying for 3 nights in Bali. Please also recommend restaurants with good food and scenery. Thank you!

  22. Hey. I would love to check with you. If I engage a cab driver to drive me to those places you have mention above. If I tell them by the name you gave on top will they know where izzit? I mean if I love coffee a lot and if I just tell the driver to go Coffee plantation at Bali Pulina Agro Tourism. Will they know where izzit?

  23. Hi.. I going to bali on September for honeymoon..

    Please advise
    1. Place to stay with private pool. If can cook, preferable.
    2. Place to see sun rise @ sun set
    3. Romantic place to visit
    4. Convenient way to travel

  24. Hi Rachel!

    Me and my friend are planning to visit Bali this spring for 4 days and 3 nights and we want to experience as much culture and visit some nice beaches as well. we planned on staying in Ubud, and we know that we can explore culture in Ubud but are there also nice beaches in Ubud worth going to? because i understand that Kuta beach is one hour away from Ubud. can you also tell us some must-do’s while we are in bali?thank you!!

  25. Hi, we would like to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary followed by my wife’s birthday in Nov’14. Would like to stay, 3 days in Legian and 3 days in Ubud. Would like to experience the culture, cuisine, heritage, natural beauty and shopping. Just to add, I would like to make it special for our 25th Aniv. We are in our late 50′s and on a budget (approx 160USD per day). Any recommendations please. Thanks Kersy

  26. Hi

    we are planning to visit Bali for 3 days. Will 3 days will be ok to cover Bali & what all are the important places to visit in Bali. Can we get Indian Vegetarian Food in Bali.

    • 3 days is possible to cover most of the places if you get your own transport but it may be a bit rush. There is plenty of vegetarian food in bAli

  27. Hi Rachel

    I have planned a hasty short trip to bali (reaching there on 14th morning leaving on 18th ) with wife and a 5 yr old daughter. We would be staying in Kuta.
    While I have prepared the itinerary , request if anyone could help validate this.

    Day 1
    1. Besakih Temple
    2. Pura Ulun Danu Beratan (Bedugul)
    3. Ubud – Paddy Terrece – Tengalalang
    4. Ubad Art Center
    5. Kintamani

    Day 2
    1. Uluwantu (Pula Luhur)
    2. Ayana on the Rocks
    3. Jimbaran Beach

    I also want to buy nice and reasonable paintings and some stone art. I have read that Batuan (Paintings) and Batubulan (Stone carvers + Dance + Theatre) are good places. I also want to cover Pura Tanah Lot.

    Please suggest the following:
    1. Is Day 1 too tight or shall I split it (if yes pls suggest an alternate )
    2. For Paintings and Stone work, is it really important to visit Batuan and Batubulan (If I can get the same stuff elsewhere at around the same price, I can skip these)
    3. I want to see Kecak Dance, can I club it in any of these locations?
    4. Which day should I fit in Pura Tanah Lot ?

    I have 3 more days in hand but would like to reserve them exclusively for water sports.

    Thanks in advance
    Shalin

    • Hi, to quickly answer a few that I know, day 1 is doable if you rent a car or a scooter, bear in mind the places are far apart and traffic are usually bad, so you should be prepare to miss out one or two places if needed. You can watch kecak dance at Uluwatu Temple, it starts at sunsent. If you want, you can first go to Tanah Lot for sunrise and then end the day with sunset at Jimbaran.

  28. Bali is so beautiful, it’s the perfect place to spend a honeymoon. If you’re looking for a touch of luxury I fully recommend The Laguna Bali, it’s ideal!

  29. Hi Racheal,

    I am visiting Bali in June 2014 with my husband and 4 yr old son. Your site has given me a lot of inputs….but I have few doubts. We have booked a Resort at Kuta beach and want to cover maximum things in Bali. Can you suggest how to plan the days so things go smooth. Also, we are interested in water games but with son we will have to manage one by one….so is it safe going alone? Thanks a lot for your inputs…..

  30. i want to visit bali for 7-8 days
    i want to enjoy beachs + activities +nightlife + resorts

    i would like to stay in 1-2 hotels

    which area are is the best to visit in bali
    and what hotels are the best for this area

  31. Hi Rachel,

    I will be visiting Bali from 10th to 15 th July, last minute arrangement. I haven’t planned well enough to for my visit. Could you please suggest me the places that I should visit? How can I travel around Bali

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